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Crimes Against Car-manity #1: '84 Aspt Custom GTO

On: Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 9:37AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by Author test 2

For shame.

Welcome to my latest web series on “Things That Should Earn You Serious and Prolonged Beatings.” Here you will read about the worst things people have done to otherwise perfectly-good cars—and yes, that includes crushing them—in the pursuit of fame, glory, money or the aforementioned threat of physical harm.

This installment covers the “1984 Aspt Custom GTO”, a vehicle that stained the rolls at Mecum Auction’s Kissimmee, FL, sale Jan. 18-27, and the many, MANY questions such a monstrosity presents. [Mass hysteria? Head injury? Anything?]


A Late-Fifties Five-Door Cowboy Pulls Nearly $90k At Mecum Verde Sale

On: Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:39PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by Author test 2

In between the eras of real wood paneling and wood-look stickers there is a station wagon sweet-spot: the Nifty Fifties. Sure, that era was pretty sweet in general, but it’s special for another reason: Stylists actually styled these babies, rather than just tacked a cargo box on the aft end of a sedan.

As with anything, the results were mixed. But there are a few designs—like the 1957 Buick Caballero wagon Mecum sold at their Verde Collection event Feb. 22-23—that are high-water marks not just in station wagon styling, but styling, period.

[And with a sale price of $89,000, I wasn’t the only one that thought so…]


The Dumbest Cars Of 2013

On: Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 12:26PM | By: Teddy Field


2013 BMW X6 test 2

Every now and then, car companies will build a car that just doesn’t seem to make sense. It’s as if they pulled a card from the suggestion box, and decided to produce a car for that one person in Cleveland. A convertible minivan with scissor doors and ostrich feather upholstery? Sure, why not!

These automotive oddities usually become sort of a ‘Halo Car’. A vehicle designed solely to bring attention to what that particular car company is capable of engineering. They know it’s not going to be a big-seller, but if it gets people talking about their car company, then mission accomplished. The following three cars fall into this category, but you have to wonder if the attention they bring will actually result in sales?


2013 Chrysler 300

On: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 10:03AM | By: Jon Summers


Chrysler 300 front test 2

When Chrysler launched the 300, in 2004, they took inspiration from the Firearrow concept car of 1954, pictured below -- just compare the front views. Any car designer will tell you the "face" is usually the place where the design begins, the point of inspiration. Many seemed to like the Firearrow look of the ’04 300, but for me it never quite worked. To drive, the old car was OK, but it was plasticky inside, and always left me feeling a little underwhelmed. It was only when I drove the Dodge Charger, built on the same platform, that the design gelled somewhat -- it felt more like a Dodge than a Chrysler -- surprising given that both are based upon then-partner Daimler-Benz’s Mercedes W211 ( E-class ) platform.


 

Bentley Unveils New 2014 Continental Flying Spur

On: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 5:01PM | By: Teddy Field


Bentley Unveils New 2014 Continental Flying Spur test 2

Forged on Mount Olympus, and trimmed in the finest calfskins, and exotic woods from faraway lands. Behold Bentley’s latest creation: the 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur!

The gods are truly pleased with their new chariot. From inside its decadent chamber, they can feast upon ambrosia from the heated and cooled thrones, whilst their divine nectar is chilled to perfection in the rear bottle cooler. Entertainment is provided by cherubs strumming harp music across the 1,100 watt Naim audio system, and video can be enjoyed on the optional 10-inch rear screens.


History Lesson: Who Built The First American Car?

On: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 1:44PM | By: Teddy Field


1891 Buckeye Gasoline Buggy test 2

Nope, not Henry Ford. He invented the assembly line.

If you’re into classic cars, you might be tempted to say that it was the Duryea brothers, but that’s wrong too. The first working car to be designed and constructed in America was built by a man named John Lambert, all the way back in 1891.


BMW Recalls 30,000 X5 Models

On: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 1:51PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


BMW Recalls 30,000 X5 Models test 2

BMW has announced it will bring back 30,265 X5 models due to a potentially defective brake vacuum pump. Eight-cylinder X5 models built between September 12, 2006 and March 18, 2010 may have a pump that could leak a "small amount" of lubricating oil into the hose, which could lead to a failure in the power brake booster. If the brake booster fails, it could lead to a crash caused by the driver not reacting properly to the failure, or simply due to the increased stopping distance the SUV must travel with no help from the booster.

BMW has said they will fix the vacuum line free of charge, and will begin contacting owners this month. Owners may call BMW at 1-800-525-7417 with questions or to set up their appointment. Read on for the full report.


The World's First Car Backflip ... In A MINI

On: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 9:54AM | By: Chris Weiss


The World's First Car Backflip ... In A MINI test 2

Imagine for a second soaring 20 feet over the ground, peering at the hard asphalt below through the upside-down windshield of your car. Now imagine that that car was one of the tiniest minicars on Earth. That doesn't sound too enticing, does it? But that's what French driver, skier and stuntman Guerlain Chicherit put himself up to. MINI is calling it the world's first unassisted backflip by car.


eBay's 2013 "Top Five" Sales Lists Start Off Big With A Near-$1M Veyron Sale

On: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 5:05PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

Need proof that the economy is getting back on track? How about the first eBay Top Five list in history to boast a value in excess of two million dollars? That’s right, folks, this is the first time in (my) recorded history that a.) any car’s been reported sold on eBay for nearly $1M; and, b.) the five highest claimed automotive auction sales prices (within two consecutive months) have exceeded $2M.

Oddly enough, however—especially in the Lamborghini’s case—the top four here are in the most boring color schemes their respective manufacturers have to offer (not that #5’s hue is all that exciting, either). Then again, this may reflect buyers’ desires to remain a little less conspicuous in their consumption, at least until the average American can afford their own guilty automotive pleasures.

Unleash the (late-model, near-new) hounds!


Lamborghini Teases 50th Anniversary Special Edition

On: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 10:26AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Teases 50th Anniversary Special Edition test 2

Truly special things happen when Lamborghini releases a limited edition model - things like the Sesto Elemento and Aventador J. So we can only imagine how special a limited edition model designed as a celebration of 50 years will be. Lamborghini has teased just such a model.

In December, Lambo CEO Stephan Winkelmann told Automotive News that the special edition will be part of Lamborghini's 50th anniversary celebration. He declined to elaborate, outside of saying that it will not be a retro or revival model.


How Far Will YOU Go To Impress A Date On Valentine's Day?

On: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 4:00PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Photoillustration by author test 2

When your birthday falls on a gift-giving holiday it’s a double-edged bummer. Not only do you have to buy other people—or a special someone—presents, but they feel obligated to partially (or mostly) ignore the holiday in favor of just celebrating a “generic” birthday.

[Not that I could stomach another stamped sugar “conversation heart” (thirty-plus years of them is more than enough).]

But if there’s one positive thing about a V-Day B-Day it’s this: I’m not held to the same surprise-jewelry-, roses- and chocolate-giving standard as most males. That’s not to say I never had to do anything grand and romantic to win over my lady fair—though after fourteen years of marriage it’s hard to remember what-all I DID do—but I can honestly say I never lied, cheated, stole or “borrowed.”

Then again, I’m not British.